Less than two months after the sudden death of Gerhard 'Jean' Stodden, another legendary winemaker of the region has passed away. Wolfgang Hehle, 59 (pictured), of the Deutzerhof estate at Mayschoss died in the early hours of Thursday 14 March after a long battle with cancer. Together with Stodden and Werner Näkel, he was instrumental in raising the quality of Ahr Spätburgunder from mediocrity to international renown. From the year 1990 onwards, he produced a string of exciting vintages, and his 1999 and 2001 Altenahrer Eck and Mayschosser Mönchberg were some of the finest German Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted.
Wolfgang Hehle took over the reins at the winery in the 1980s from his father-in-law Alfred Cossmann, whose family had been involved in wine growing in the Ahr Valley since 1574. Alfred Cossmann passed away in 2010, and tragedy struck the family when in December of the same year Johann Hehle, Wolfgang and Hella Hehle’s son and designated successor at the estate, died as a result of a road accident. He left behind a young son and daughter, who will, it is hoped, be able to carry on the family tradition one day. In the meantime Hella and Dorothee Hehle will continue to run the Deutzerhof with the help of the very capable estate manager Hansjörg Lüchau.